As of today, it is 25 days until the Great Aberdeen Run, and a whopping 88 days until the Frankfurt Marathon. I mention this because for the first time in a long time – I am doing some consistent training. Whether this translates into results in Aberdeen is doubtful (my PB was off the back of Ironman training – so I suspect I won’t be at that level of fitness in three weeks time), but it does bode well for another crack at a marathon PB in October, in Deutschland.
I have said this often and loud – one of the key limiters to my performance as an ‘athlete’ is my ability to maintain a training regime, be it formal or otherwise (another limiter is diet, which I only mention because I ate so much at lunch today that I feel sick #undoingthegoodwork). So that explains why I am so happy with the fact that since I committed to training more in July, I have had two weeks with six sessions in them, one week with a session every day of the week – and a fourth week where I dropped it down to five sessions for the week (which was unavoidable due to work commitments). These have been a bit of a mixture of sessions as well – another change for me. I’ve *finally* started incorporating speed work into my training; mixing in some tempo work, alongside intervals (we have a dirt track near my work which is an odd 390 metres around) and hill work. This is also significant, because I have historically been in the camp of ‘I’m not doing speed work, but I’m not getting faster – what is wrong with me?’.
All of this has added up (literally) to the highest running volumes per month that I’ve ever run, which is great – for no larger reason than I am increasingly loading my legs and haven’t injured myself (*knock on wood*). I’ve been managing easy days in with the harder speed days which obviously helps – but it’s just nice to finally start doing some of the common sense things. I’m hopeful that these will lead to improved results in the form of 5km times, as well as over the longer distances. Just to give some context on some of my better months, distance wise – here are the four highest volume months that I’ve had in the last five years:
March 2016 – 158.91km
Jan 2017 – 164.27km
May 2017 – 204.34km
July 2017 – 209.08km
So, worth noting that three of them have come this year – but more significantly I suppose, the two in the last three months have been 40km a month more than my previous highs. I can hear you asking though – but what about June? 204.34km, then nothing, then 209.08km? Well – that was when my little boy was born, so running clearly wasn’t the priority for that time period! Being the parent of an (incredibly) young child has added another dimension of challenge to the whole endeavour, though admittedly this has been both a positive and a negative. It has been a negative insofar as my sleep and rest time is limited, so the motivation to get the runners on and get on to the road can sometimes be through a haze of sleepy eyes. Running has also impacted on my ability to stay awake late in the evening to help The Lady with the Tin Boy, so it has been important to not let running get in the way of the things that are more important in life. The positive though is that it is, realistically, the only activity I have at the moment that is wholly and solely ‘me time’ has been the running. So it has been very therapeutic; a great opportunity to clear my head and relax. This in turn, makes me a less stressed and tense Dad, and better for assisting in nappy changes and midnight cuddles.
What has dropped off the face of the planet has been PhD work, however that was by design for the next few weeks at least – surprisingly it has been hard to find the time to read detailed academic tomes while cradling a weeks old baby boy who demands attention at the best of times. Frankly it has been a stretch of my attention and energy to make it through more than one episode of a television programme with any kind of plot requiring focus. That I fell asleep watching Thronecast this week tells me everything I need to know.
So the plan at the moment – DON’T STOP. I’ve got three weeks to go until Aber-dabba-deen; so its all about maintaining the rage; keeping the speed sessions going and tapering to ensure that I give myself my best shot at doing a good time. It won’t likely be a PB, but it would be nice to run somewhere around 1:3x at least – preferably under the 1:37 that I ran at Hampton Court earlier this year. Fingers crossed. After that, the focus turns to Frankfurt and longer runs to ensure that I have the distance in my legs for a marathon; my eighth.
I almost forgot! On top of all of this; I went out and got myself a new bike – a lovely, shiny (very) Cervelo S2. I even took it out for a ride this past Saturday; thinking that given that it had barely been ridden by its previous owner (so shiny) that it would be good to go if I added a set of pedals and adjusted the seat to my own arse-height specifications.
Sadly, when the left-hand side crank arm fell off on a lap of Richmond Park I realised the error in not getting it serviced beforehand – and was left with a Uber ride home (in the rain with no battery left on my phone) to contemplate my own stupidity. I’m equally dreading explaining to the bike shop that I take the bike to what had happened; as my embarrassment at this stage is rather overwhelming.
So that’s where we are. Running loads (for me at least), still swimming regularly, and trying to get back on the bike. Sheesh. Someone would almost think that I was trying to get back into triathlon.
Listening To: The Three ‘Exogenesis’ songs by Muse